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Carlos Sainz boldly predicts when Max Verstappen’s F1 dominance will end

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Carlos Sainz boldly predicts when Max Verstappen’s F1 dominance will end

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Max Verstappen leads the F1 championship by 13 points from Sergio Perez (Photo: Getty)

Max Verstappen and Red Bull won’t have an advantage over the rest of the Formula 1 grid for too many more races, Carlos Sainz has boldly predicted.

However, the Ferrari star has warned that by the time they’ve been caught up, the championship battle may already done and dusted.

After retiring in Australia, Verstappen was back to winning ways in Japan on Sunday, cruising to victory from pole with teammate Sergio Perez second and Sainz third.

After four races, his lead in the championship stands at 13 points while Red Bull top the constructors’ standings by 21 points to Ferrari.

The Scuderia appear to be the only team capable of challenging the reigning F1 champions, as Sainz’s victory in Melbourne proved, and it is hoped that they can close to the gap and generate a decent title fight.

Speaking after the race in Suzuka, Sainz suggests that time is near but fears it may still be too late: ‘I think they [Red Bull] are definitely going to have an advantage in the first third of the season until we bring one or two upgrades that makes us fight them more consistently.

‘But by that time maybe it’s a bit too late with the advantage that they might have on the championship.

Carlos Sainz is the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race since the end of 2022 (Photo: Getty)

‘In the meantime, we need more Australias! Which I don’t see Red Bull, as a team, making these mistakes very often, no.

‘A shame, because also I missed a race, which for both the team and me, it could be costly in the championship. We’re competing in one race less, but at the same time, we’re going to give it our best shot.

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‘It’s my last year in Ferrari also, so yeah, nothing to lose and we will try everything to make it back.’

Can Ferrari overtake Red Bull in 2024 (Photo: Getty)

By Sainz’s logic, Ferrari could match Red Bull’s level by race eight of year in Monaco in May, but it is likely that Verstappen’s team will bring upgrades of their own which could see them extend their lead.

Following Japan, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff declared that Verstappen had already won the 2024 title, though the Dutchman insists he is taking nothing for granted.

‘Lately, Toto has been really nice, saying a lot of nice things about me!’ the three -time champion said, perhaps jokingly making reference to the rumours linking him with a move to Mercedes.

‘No, I don’t know. It’s still a very long season. I don’t want to think about the rest of the season too much. I really want to approach it race by race.

‘I know there will be tracks coming up that might not be so favourable for us, but then, of course, when we do get to tracks where we know that we can be quick, we have to really take advantage of it and score the maximum amount of points as a team, and that’s what we’ll continue to try and do.

‘And then, of course, I think we know that we get to tracks where maybe it’s a bit more difficult we have to try and maximise that as well, where maybe other teams can win as well.’

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